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Posts Tagged ‘National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’

NOAA: The Unexpected

Posted by Laurie Frost on August 21, 2009


Credit: OAR/NURP [nur09515]

Once more to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Photo Library, for some images that just might surprise you.

Take, for example, the one above, “In 1680, physicist Giovanni Borelli attempts to recycle his own breathing air.” You’ll find it under Graphics in the National Undersea Research Program (NURP) album, which is part of the Voyage to Inner Space – Exploring the Sea with NOAA collection.

The next three are from the Treasures of the NOAA Library Collection.


This man-goat-fish “merman satyr” is an illustration from a 1696 volume, Specula physico-mathematico-historica by Johann Zahn. (Credit: Archival Photograph by Mr. Sean Linehan, NOS, NGS [libr0079])

Or perhaps you’d prefer to encounter “A Monster Born of a Ewe,” like in this illustration appearing in the 1714 Journal des Observations Physiques, Mathematiques et Botaniquesby Louis Feuillee. The NOAA caption page notes that what we have here is “A ‘monster’ observed by the author in Buenos Aires in 1708. The author was serious as he reported this creature to the King of France.” (Credit: NOAA libr0408)libr0408

Isn’t this a pleasant looking sun? It reminds me of the one on The Teletubbies but is in fact from the title page of De Thermis Andreae Baccii Elpidiani, Civis Romani by Andrea Bacci, published 1622. (Credit:  libr0469)


These two, filed under Sculpture and Carvings in the Art of the NOAA Photo Library collection, were shot by NOAA photographer William Folsom in the Florida Keys. He found the first on Islamorada (Credit: NOAA, NMFS [line1108]); the giant spiny lobster is at Treasure Village on Plantation Key (Credit: NOAA, NMFS [line1115]).



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NOAA Images: Hurricanes

Posted by Laurie Frost on August 17, 2009

wea01803Circa 1938, Coast Guard aircraft were used to drop warning messages to sponge fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida’s west coast.  Credit:  NWS wea01803

Forty years ago tonight, or early tomorrow morning, Hurricane Camille made landfall near Bay St. Louis on the coast of Mississippi. It was one of only three 20th century hurricanes to be classified as Category 5 when it hit land.

The images for this post are from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Photo Library’s National Weather Service (NWS) Collection’s album, Meteorological Monsters.

What does a hurricane look like? Its radar image is distinct and recognizable, and some of the images in this album are screenshots of radar data. Here, for example, are screenshots of Camille and 2005’s Katrina from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center:camilleandkatrina-compare

But as the hurricane is going on, taking a picture that is readily identifiable as “hurricane” isn’t so easy. More telling are the aftermath pictures, ones showing widespread devastation or ones proving the bizarre and awesome strength of these storms, like these:wea00544






Above and left: Hurricane Andrew, Miami, 1992 . A piece of plywood and a  1 X 4 board driven through the trunks of  royal palm trees. Credits: NWS wea00544, wea00546

Right: September 13, 1928, Puerto Rico:  10-foot 2 X 4 driven through a palm tree.  Credit: NWS wea00405


 In Mississippi, the casinos are on barges in the Gulf. What you see in the foreground of this picture is the white sand of the coast. Then Highway 90, the main east-west highway along the Gulf Coast. And then, beyond the beach and beyond the highway, the largest of two barges from Biloxi Grand Hotel, run aground where Katrina moved it. The big blue moving van in the left corner gives an indication of the size — and weight– of this barge.wea02523

 Photographer/Credit: Lieut. Commander Mark Moran, NOAA Corps, NMAO/AOC [NWS wea02523]

 These sets of before and after shots give an idea of the aftermath of Hurricane Camille. This is Trinity Episcopal Church, built in 1849, Pass Christian, Mississippi, photographed in the 1960s (credit: NWS wea00436) before Camille:wea00436

 — and after (credit: NWS wea00437): wea00437

 Isn’t it strange how the one tree seems unscathed?

Another example: This historic Mississippi home was photographed during the summer of 1969, prior to its planned September opening as Episcopal High School (credit: NWS wea00422):wea00422

Camille took all but its front steps (credit: NWS wea00423):wea00423

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NOAA Images: Wretched Weather

Posted by Laurie Frost on August 15, 2009

One of the collections in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Photo Library is titled National Severe Storms Laboratory, after NOAA’s extreme weather lab based in Norman, Oklahoma. Its albums are Tornadoes, Instruments, Sky Scenes, Lightning and Hail.

Here are some examples of what you can find there: nssl0001

Baseball-sized (diameter=6 cm) aggregate hailstone.

Credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/NSSL [nssl0001]

nssl0016NOAA caption: Time-lapse photography captures multiple cloud-to-ground lightning strokes during a night-time thunderstorm.   Norman, Oklahoma. March, 1978   Photographer: C. Clark

Credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/NSSL [nssl0016]


nssl0052NOAA caption: Tornado near end of life – photographed during “Sound Chase.” “Sound Chase” was joint project of NSSL and Mississippi State University. Purpose of project was to record sounds emitted by tornadoes.    Cordell, Oklahoma.   May 22, 1981

Credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/NSSL [nssl0052]

nssl0179NOAA caption: Project Vortex. The Dimmitt Tornado.  

South of Dimmitt, Texas.  June 2, 1995. Photographer: Harald Richter

Credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/NSSL [nssl0179]

Meteorological Monsters is the title of one of the albums in the National Weather Service Collection; the most extensive sets here are of various hurricanes and deserving of a separate look. But here are some other historical highlights.

wea00206NOAA caption: Oldest known photograph of a tornado.

22 miles southwest of Howard, South Dakota.   August 28, 1884

Credit: NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) Collection [wea00206]

wea01411NOAA Caption: “Dust Over Texas.” Huge boiling masses of dust that blocked out the sun were common sights in Texas during the Dust Bowl years. In: “To Hold This Soil”, Russell Lord, 1938. Miscellaneous Publication No. 321, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Circa 1935

Credit:  NOAA’s NWS Collection [wea01411]

wea01422NOAA Caption: A dust storm approaching Spearman [TX].

In: “Monthly Weather Review,” Volume 63, April 1935, p. 148.

 Credit:  NOAA’s  NWS Collection [wea01422]


wea00796NOAA Caption:  “Seventh St., Washington, D. C., under the Flood.” 

In: “History of the Johnstown Flood”, by Willis Fletcher Johnson, 1889. P. 379. Library Call Number M79.4 J71h.

Photographer: Archival Photograph by Mr. Steve Nicklas, NOS, NGS

Credit:  NOAA’s  NWS Collection [wea0796]

NOAA credits these last two to “Our National Calamity of Fire, Flood, and Tornado” by Logan Marshall, 1913. L. T. Myers, publisher. Both were taken in Dayton, Ohio, in March 1913, during a period of flooding that throughout the region claimed “527 deaths, the U.S. record for the 20th Century.” Archival Photography by Steve Nicklas, NOS, NGS

wea00751NOAA Caption: Improvised row boats built by National Cash Register Company were of great value in rescuing marooned residents of Dayton.

Credit:  NOAA’s  NWS Collection [wea00751]

And proving that as soon as there was photography, politicos rushed into photo ops:


NOAA Caption: City leaders shouldering shovels and hoes to help clean up the city. Little mud on the clothes might indicate a posed picture for publicity purposes.

Credit:  NOAA’s  NWS Collection [wea00760]

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Last of the Polar Bears

Posted by Laurie Frost on July 8, 2009

Polar bears have featured in several of my earlier posts: FWS [Fish & Wildlife Service] Images of Alaska’s Polar Bears, Walruses and Seals; Where the Polar Bears Roam; and Polar Bears and Blue Angels, Submarines and Ships of the US Navy.

Here’s one more set, which are intriguing because they show the size of the bears in comparison to men. The bears are sedated so that they can be tagged by scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.

First, a statement from NOAA about the public domain status and use of the images in its library:

Restrictions for Using NOAA Images

Most NOAA photos and slides are in the public domain and CANNOT be copyrighted.

Although at present, no fee is charged for using the photos credit MUST be given to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce unless otherwise instructed to give credit to the photographer or other source.

It’s worth repeating that last line. Remember, you are paying nothing, but you must give credit:

…no fee is charged for using the photos credit MUST be given to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce

The pictures, then more about NOAA in the Arctic. This one of the bears’ huge padded paws was taken by Captain Budd Christman, NOAA Corps, on Alaska’s Beaufort Sea in May 1982 [credit: NOAA/ US Dept. of Commerce].anim00412

Captain Christman also shot the next two pictures of bear and man. The man is Steve Amstrup of the US FWS. The caption provided for the second picture below notes that the bear’s neck circumference was 45 inches and his estimated weight, 1400 pounds. [credits: NOAA/ US Dept. of Commerce].anim0038

anim0036This last picture shows Cpt. Christman with a bear tagged for monitoring in the Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment Program (OCSEAP) studies [credit: NOAA/ US Dept. of Commerce].anim0035

There are a number of really fine things about the NOAA site, and we will return to those in later posts, but just for now let me direct you to these pages:

The formats represented in this resource include print, CD-ROM, online full-text documents, digital videos, digital images, online cruise data and Web resources. This document provides full-text access, copyright permitting, to significant Polar documents in the NOAA Library collections. There are over one-hundred-and-fifty electronic references to unique historical documents that have been scanned and made available online via NOAALINC, as well as to scientific datasets available online via the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) Ocean Archive System.

Now, leaving NOAA and departing from our images in the public domain theme, here’s a resource specifically on polar bears:

You can’t think about the future of polar bears without considering climate change. Here are some sites about the disappearance of the sea ice on which the bears live. Again, we’ve departed from public domain resources:

Posted in Animals, Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, Places | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »